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Massachusetts Gambling Expansion Debate To Take Place Tuesday

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Governor Duval Patrick had a vision when he took office of leading Massachusetts to the top of the casino gaming industry in the Northeast. After failing in his first attempt last year, Patrick watched as other states expanded quickly. Now, lawmakers in the state are playing catch up.

On Tuesday, legislators will debate the controversial casino resort bill that has been proposed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo. The legislation would legalize two casino resorts and also give state racetracks the rights to a limited amount of slot machines.

Governor Patrick wants the expanded gambling, but is against the slots for the racetracks. DeLeo is attempting to help save the racetracks from financial ruin after the economic recession and a decrease in interest have caused a decline in revenue.

At stake for Massachusetts could be millions of dollars in tax revenue. If approved, the two casino resorts would not only bring millions of dollars to the state, but also thousands of jobs, many of which would be given to unemployed residents of Massachusetts.

The Bill will face some heavy opposition. Last year, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against a casino resort proposal offered by Patrick. Then-House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi led the charge against the governor's proposal, and DiMasi has now been replaced by the pro-gambling DeLeo.

If DeLeo's legislation is going to pass, he will have to change the minds of dozens of lawmakers who voted against the Bill proposed by Patrick. A two-thirds majority is needed in order to eliminate the possibility of a veto by Patrick.

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